tv Hardball Weekend MSNBC January 21, 2012 2:00am-2:30am PST
so is the newt scoop moot? let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in beautiful orlando, florida, for a gathering of nbc universal people. here comes newt. when newt gingrich is debating he's winning. right now newt is looking more and more like a winner. today the head of the gallup
poll said newt gingrimitt romne over newt gingrich is collapsing. mitt conceded it could be a long race he's facing right now. it all came together for newt last night. a supportive raucous crowd. and a chance to show moral indig nation at a question about marital infidelity he knew was coming. so last night's debate audience certainly gave newt a pass. but will this claim by his second wife that newt asked for what she called an open marriage actually change votes? then there's romney. as prepared as newt was to zing mod raider john zing last night, that's how unprepared mitt romney was for that inevitable will you release your tax returns question? not only was romney tongue tied, saying maybe, he raised my old rule. if it's better than it looks for a politician, they'll tell you. plus stephen colbert says, if you think what he's doing is a
j joke, then this whole campaign finance system is a joke. good point. finally let me finish with newt's perfect pitch for conservative contempt. we start with yet another comeback of newt gingrich. howard fineman editorial director, eugene robinson is a "washington post" columnist, both are msnbc political analysts. this morning gallup's editor in chief said romney's national lead was collapsing. take a look at the latest numbers. at the beginning of this week romney led newt gingrich by 23 points. in the latest gallup tracking poll out today that lead's down to 10. this afternoon mitt romney conceded south carolina was going to be a very close contest. and that this could tour out to be long race for the nomination. let match. >> we have a long process ahead of us, 1150 delegates to get. i sure would like to win south carolina but i know that if those polls were right,
regardless of who gets the final number, we're both going to get a lot of the ankle gates. i want as many delegates as i can get. but i don't know what the numbers will be. i'm pretty confident. cautiously optimistic. >> one of those polls that romney mentioned, an important one in south carolina, is the chemical money palmetto poll. just released the latest results that show given dwrich ahead of romney by 6 points. let's go to howard on this. what an amazing turnaround week it's been for these top contenders. all of a sudden gingrich is back. he's back from that terrible beating he took out in iowa. the defeat way back in the pack he took in new hampshire to leading the polls in south carolina, a state we all thought coming into this was going to be a cinch, to simple the nomination really for roll re. >> well, i didn't think it was going to be a sirchg, chris. i just came from a newt gingrich
event in orangeburg which is gene robinson's hometown. it was an overflow crowd, i'd say 1,200 people. these are your hard, your salt of the earth, conservative crowd. gene, you know who i'm talking about in orangeburg. they were all there. newt gingrich was singing their song and speaking their language and it's because of the debates. by my count, newt gingrich has now come back three times from the dead. and the way he did it here in south carolina is by using the debates to show that he's the kind of conservative combatant. tough, nasty, in your face, that south carolina conservatives definitely want. and the national numbers are affected by what goes on state by state. national republicans are looking at south carolina. it's not definitive. south carolina won't be definitive either. judging by that crowd today, chris, and i've seen surges in the past. newt was surgeoning.
newt himself said today he was going to win the south carolina primary today. >> wow, he's actually propsing victory tomorrow. tell us about your home state, the feelings -- let me get this back to gene. tell but your home state. what is it that he's been cog, newt, that has gotten to the funny bone, thor rog us in zone action whatever you want to call it, the heart of the south carolina conservative voter? >> well, first of all, a crowd of 1,200 people in orangeburg, that's a huge crowd. 1,200 enthusiastic people there is amazing. >> it was big. >> the nerve he touches, ask he touched it monday night and he did it again last night, is anger. is this sort of seething feeling that some republican primary voters, and i think a lot of republican primary voters, have here. he's shown that he will get in
barack obama's face and i think that's what republicans here are looking for. someone who's that combative. the way he went after the elite media was just brilliant, frankly. >> wow. >> and he's reaping the rewards. >> here it was. here's that moment, gene and howard, the moment of the debate last night happened right at the start. the moderator for cnn john king asked newt about his ex-wife's new interview. let's watch newt's very effective right away he turned it into a charge against the media. let's watch. >> she says you asked her, sir, to enter into an open marriage. would you like to take some time to respond to that? >> no. but i will. i think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to tract decent people to run for public office. and i am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that.
>> well, howard, you notice how he turns the question about his behavior into a criticism of the media. it's an old tactic. attack from a defensive position. there you go again. watch a bit more. your thoughts on what we just saw, howard. >> okay. well, that was to be expected. cnn had been talking about that open marriage quote all afternoon. newt was loaded for wear. newt has been attacking the media all through this. for a republican crowd in a conservative state, that's just cat nip. they love it. because they view the national media, virt all of it, as a tribune of the enemy. they viewed it that way for a generation or more. it's a convenient way for newt to deflect attention from hichld. that was a multi-leveled answer with all kinds of different tactics thrown into it. none of which involved answering the questions. but that was pure gold.
because, as i said, what the voters here want is somebody who wants to attack. i mean, i keep mentioning the fact that they used to have cockfighting here in south carolina. they've transferred it from the chickens to the people. that's what they like. this is not iowa. it's not even new hampshire. they want the colors bold and they want them bright. >> well, that's the first cockfight reference we've had on "hardball" in the history of the program so we're moving it. gene, i want you to watch this a little more then respond to what we're seeing here. here's newt going on the attack against cnn, in this case going against the media. here it. >> every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things. to take an ex-wife and make it two days before the primary, a significant question in a presidential campaign, is as close to despicable as anything i can imagine.
>> you know, gene, he is loaded up, as howard said, loaded for bear. committees spcable, appalling, negative, vicious, destructive. he has pounded this. the way that george her bear walker bush, i think with the advice and down of roger dales at the time, pitched up a fight with dan rather, remember, in the beginning of the '88 campaign, as a warmup to go of a dukakis, and it really worked for him and this may really work for newt, what do you think? >> well, it certainly is going to work for him in south carolina. i think and contrast that, chris, with mitt romney's episode from yesterday when he confronted the occupy protesters. and i thought tried to have that sort of moment. to, you know, put them in their place and put them down. and it was awkward. it didn't work that way. gingrich is good at this sort of
thing, mitt romney really isn't. and that contrast was pretty stark. >> thank you, howard and gene, we'll see you tomorrow night for the coverage of the results in south carolina. what a night it's going to be. coming up, as prepared as newt gingrich was for that question about his ex-wife mitt romney wasn't all prepared, he was flat-footed, when he was asked once again will you release his tax returns? and his nonanswer of maybe suggests there's something there, something that could hurt his campaign. because when in doubt you put it out and that's ahead. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. where everyone has been unbelievably nice. mornin'. i guess i'm helping them save hundreds on car insurance. it probably also doesn't hurt that i'm a world-famous advertising icon. cheers! i mean, who wouldn't want a piece of that? geico. ah...
another great story. . welcome back to "hardball." the drum beat that calls for mitt romney to release his tax returns is getting much louder and louder. so when it came time for the cnn debate last night you'd think he'd have an answer ready to go. instead of a clean, crisp reply romney waffled. here's he is response when john king asked romney when we'd see his tax returns. >> when hi taxes are complete for this year, and i know that if i'm the nom nominee the president's going to want to insist that i show what my income was this last year and so forth, when they're completed this year in april i'll release my returns in april and probably for other years as well. >> why should not the people of south carolina for this election see last year's return? >> because i want to make sure that i beat president obama. every time we release things drip by drip the democrats go out with another array of attacks. as has been done in the past, if i'm the nominee i'll put these
out at one time so we have one discussion of all of this. >> does romney have something to hide? a good question. or would he just prefer to us did does his returns as he once said on tax policy in a quiet room? body gentlemen are msnbc political analysts. chris, you first. you know, this game of cat and mouse that this guy's created here because it never was created before, everyone assumes you have to show your tax returns. it shows you've been honest, it shows you've done your tax returns. everybody's got them. you can't be a legal person in this country without having tax returns. there's only one reason why he won't show them, they doesn't want to. he doesn't want to, why? >> yeah, chris, i agree with you. i've been baffled. you show, first of all, you show the bit from cnn last night. but on monday night romney was
asked basically the same thing and he again fumbled which is odd to me. this is a guy who is quite good as a debater. if he didn't know it was coming on monday he definitely knew it was coming last night yet he still struggled with it. i this it has to do with him being uncomfortable in some way about his wealth, although we know he's rich. what it makes it look like, chris, and you know perception is often reality in politics, what it makes it look like is he's hiding something. i don't know that he is. maybe he's not. but the way that he talks about it makes it look as though he is uncomfortable, he's awkward with it. that he just doesn't feel good about talking about it. it doesn't need to be a big issue. i think mitt romney has turned it a little bit into an issue at the moment because of his answers in the debate monday night and again last night. >> well, remember, chris -- >> well, it's hard -- yes? >> remember, back in december, when he was first asked about
this, he said he probably wouldn't release his tax returns. so at that point, when it wasn't as much focus, it was clearly his inclination to try to get away without doing this. now, he says he pays about 15%. maybe he pays 10%. 9%. there are ways -- even if you're paying the low capital gains rates there are ways of creditinglesses against gains to really lower your taxes a lot. i'm sure he pays his accountants a lot. his campaign says there's no tax benefit to doing that. the obvious question is why is it there? why not put it in good old american financial institutions? and all this, his inability to answer the question confidently last night, when he knew it was coming, indicates that something's wrong with his taxes, something's wrong it his campaign, or something's wrong with the candidate, maybe all three. >> you know, i think it's totally fair game, particularly not only for him because all candidates have had to do this over the years.
here's a guy who's bragged every campaign speech he gives, the focus of his campaign speech is, look at how successful i was in the private sector making money. not doing things but making money. bragging about how much money he's made, how successful he's been. again last night saying, i'm unapologetic about how much money i've made. here's john king noting romney's own father released 12 years' worth of tax returns when he was a candidate because he didn't want to show one year was a fluk. john king put the question to mitt, whether he's follow in his own father's footsteps. here was mitt's response. >> maybe. you know, i don't know how many years i'll release. i'll take a look at what our documents are and i'll release multiple years, i don't know how many years, but i'll be happy to do that. let me tell you, i know there are some who are very anxious to see if they can't make it more difficult for a campaign to be
successful. i know the democrats want to go after the fact that i've been successful. i'm not going to apologize for being successful and -- [ applause ] i went off on my own. i didn't inherit money from i am parents. what i have iered. i worked hard the american way. >> let me start with david on this. who's he arguing with then? i never heard anybody say they've got a problem with him making a lot of money. i never heard anybody say that about any candidate in history, from road vet's family or the kennedy family or harriman, arnold schwarzenegger. who's he arguing with? i would argue he's arguing with a straw man. he's made up this fictitious character who doesn't like he's made a lot of money. what the pun wants to know is, have you paid a fair tax? i think that is a legitimate question. >> you know when a politician changes the subject it's for a reason. he thinks he has a better
argument with a false argument. i'll take a slight issue with you. mitt romney, you know, in the year of occupy wall street, you know, three years, four years now after the wall street-caused crash, he is mr. 1%. and the whole issue of income inequality has become a more populist and popular issue, even the republicans have been talking about it. so, you know, the taxes will show to what degree he's in the 1%. and to what degree he takes advantages of the rules that are really there for the top 1%. so i think there's a tremendous sensitivity here from political point of view, which is probably justified on his part. >> chris, where are you on this? i think we agree. i think it's the tax rate, the effective rate he paid is going to hound him if it's too low. >> i think that's issue, chris. because here's my thing but romney that i honestly don't understand. it is no secret to anyone who has paid even passing attention to this race that he's wealthy.
>> have a nice weekend. and tomorrow night live join us at 6:00 eastern for our live coverage of the south carolina primary. the polls close at 7:00. i'm not sure when we'll have results. we'll give you results as they come in, as fast as anybody or faster. mitt romney gave what may have been the most unbelievable line of the night when he referred to his back-ground as being on the streets. he's kind of a streetcorner guy, street-living guy. that's next on the "sideshow." you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc.
>> here is my unconventional endorsement. not a candidate seeking the nomination. not someone that's not running. my unconventional endorsement is when the people. we the people of this nation are still in charge. >> as opposed to? more on cain with stephen colbert later in the show. next, in last night's debate tom decried newt gingrich as another washington politician and offered himself up as a regular american alternative. let's watch. >> what you've listened to in my view and the speaker's rendition of history going back to 1978 is a perfect example of why we need to send to washington someone who's not lived to washington but someone who's lived in the real streets of america, working in the private sector, who's led a business, who started a
business, who help lead the olympics, who helped lead a state. >> who's lived in the real streets of america. romney's the son of the ceo of american motors. the son of a three-time governor and presidential candidate. romney himself attended boarding school, went to both harvard law and harvard business school. is worth some say $250 million. and we're supposed to believe he's lived this life on the american street. well, lastly, president obama and his thanks to big-time, big-name attendees at a fund-raiser last nighted a this sheshl shout-out to singer al green. >> and then to know that reverend al green was here. ♪ i ♪ so in love
those guys didn't think i would do it. i told you i was going to do it. the sandman did not come out. >> well, my hunch is romney and gingrich isn't going to match obama's singing. up next "your necessary." so it looks like...makeup. but trublend has skin twin technology to actually merge with your skin. you get skin twin coverage that's perfectly true. and you're more perfectly you. [ female announcer ] plus, with trublend, you always get a perfect match. if you're a shade 1 here, you're a 1 here... and here. how easy breezy beautiful is that? trublend...from covergirl. nyquil tylenol: we are?ylenol. you know we're kinda like twins. nyquil (stuffy): yeah, we both relieve coughs, sneezing, aches, fevers. tylenol: and i relieve nasal congestion.
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